A local lawyer said that he orchestrated a marriage ceremony for 73 couples in Atenas on St. Valentine’s Day to sidestep a government regulation that many consider burdensome.
The lawyer is Rafael Valverde of Outlier Legal Services in Guachipelín. The rule he is trying to circumvent is by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. The Caja requires a marriage certificate not more than 30 days old for couples trying to sign up for or renew its services.
Expats with legal residency are required to affiliate with the Caja.
A.M. Costa Rica addressed the problem in a news story that called the rule kafkaesque.
The Costa Rican government’s Registro Civil keeps close track of who is married to whom. But that is not the case in most foreign countries. Costa Ricans can easily obtain a fresh marriage license with a visit to the Registro.
As Valverde points on out on his Web site, the Caja permits same-sex couples to affiliate and also Costa Ricans who are living in common law relationships. But couples who are married must provide a certificate not more than 30 days old.
That can be a chore for foreigners who have to contact the appropriate agency in the location where they were married.
Valverde said Wednesday that all but one of the participants in the Atenas Parque Central wedding ceremony were expats. This was not a fund-raising enterprise.
His Web site said the fee would be $400 and shared by participating couples.
Presumably the couples who participated in the marriage ceremony will be able to obtain a Costa Rican marriage certificate at the Registro Civil.
However, other lawyers have warned, as A.M. Costa Rica reported, that in order to be married in Costa Rica, the couple must legally swear that they are not married elsewhere, something that is clearly not true. Valverde addressed this point on his Web site and said that this was permitted if the couple were marrying the same person.
As A.M. Costa Rica pointed out there is an irony that many expat couples already have a validated and official marriage certificate on file in the office of Migración y Extranjería from the time they sought legal residency.
Valverde said Wednesday that he is planning to file a Sala IV constitutional appeal over the Caja requirement.